From Wednesday Jan. 28 to Friday Jan. 30, fiddler Hanneke Cassel and cellist/vocalist Mike Block visited the Archer School for Girls. While here, they performed for the student body and worked with several arts classes. Cassel is the 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion. Block is hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the “ideal musician of the 21st Century.” They specialize in “traditional and original music that draws from their Celtic, Americana, and Classical backgrounds,” according to their biography on the Crest Westwood website.
The duo collaborated with various Archer classes in their three days at the school. They worked with the eighth grade film class to create a music video. They also led workshops with the Upper School and Middle School orchestras and the sixth and seventh grade strings classes. In these workshops, they taught the students how to play some of their original songs.
They taught the Middle School Dance Company, the advanced study in dance class, the seventh grade dance class, Upper School Dance Company 1, and the advanced film class.
In their performance to the Upper School, the duo performed “Patana Sunset/Dot the Dragon’s Eyes,” “I’ve Endured,” “The Parking Lot Song,” “Blackberry Festival Footrace/The Moose Escapeth” and many more tunes.
Cassel and Block have been playing together since 2007, as Cassel explained in a Q&A after their performance for the Upper School. Cassel was exposed to music at a young age; she began playing piano at the age of two and classical violin at eight. Block began his musical career with Suzuki violin, and later found the cello.
Cassel writes and composes songs, some of which they played for Archer students. When asked about songwriting, she said, “I find that the really nice thing about playing and writing music is that you can often express things better than you could express any other way.”
For music, I’d just like to point out, it’s not an all or nothing deal. You don’t have to dedicate your entire life to it to have it be a part of yourself.” —Mike Block
The pair will be playing at the Crest on Friday Jan. 30 at 8 PM. Click here for tickets.
Video taken from Archer’s vimeo account.